Communion time thoughts. The Christian life can be seen as consisting of two tiers. The first tier is enjoying the Lord at his feet ~ adoring him, attending to him, waiting for him to speak to you, to teach you. The second tier is doing all the necessary things in life for his sake ~ trusting in him, thanking him, suffering for him, rejoicing with him...
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
God is so great that he is beyond our expectations. However we imagine his magnificence, his beauty, his wisdom, the extent of his mercy, etc., we fall short because it's plain impossible for the finite mind to grasp the infinite. In other words, God is always greater and more than what we can imagine him to be. Only saying that he is great beyond our expectations hits the mark. ,
This morning I saw a flock of Canadian geese flying north overhead, honking along the way. Not questioning why they head north, they just followed their instinct. In fact, all nonhuman animals, with no concept of morality or good and evil, do what they do by instinct. By contrast, our lives are complicated by the fact that God has given us the free will to choose good or evil. But we can simplify our lives by choosing to follow Christ always. This assures that we will return to the Father, our creator, in heaven.
Monday, September 29, 2014
We may pray or speak to God at any time, for he is always ready and hears us. But to hear God speak to us, we must be in tune with him, for he senses every slightest disturbance in our heart. To be in tune with him is to be open and receptive, remaining in trust. The world does not hear God, precisely because it is in chaos. This vicious circle perpetuates its deafness to God's voice.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Communion time thoughts. The world is a cutthroat place. Plenty of people sin in order to gain advantage over others. The aggressive ones attack others just to satisfy their ego. I feel sorry that they don't see how foolish they are before God. In the world, I feel like being a sheep among wolves. Yet I have no fear because the Lord is my defender. If you do not rely upon God to be your defender, you will have no defender in the end.
Accept the reality that it's just impossible for us finite creatures to understand God our infinite creator completely. Then once we know enough about God, let faith fill in the part of space that's still unknown to us. What's enough for us to know about God is that Jesus, the Son of God, did come into the world to die on the cross to redeem us so that we might have eternal life if we believed in and followed him.
Friday, September 26, 2014
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 9, Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" You can ask your friends that same question to see what they would say. It'd be interesting to also ask yourself, "Who am I?" As for the first question, there is really no need to ask if you feel that we should care only about what God and not what anyone else thinks of us. As for the second question, there can be many good answers. Right now, I feel good saying that I am just an empty vessel of the Lord.
A sinner without God is like a wild, untamed animal. He does what pleases him and in the process becomes chained to the world, destroying the very peace and freedom he sought. In today's first reading from Ecclesiastes 3 at Mass, we heard the familiar verse: There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for everything under heavens. There is definitely a time for us to turn to God to be tamed by him so that we may live in peace and freedom.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
This morning I was aware of myself aging. Like everyone else, my body is weakening every moment. One day, we'll all need more help from others. Then I realized that God is already helping us by sustaining our very existence, so we absolutely need him. The difference between his help and other humans' is that his help is always there, something we cannot dismiss. Therefore, let's acknowledge this and express our appreciation by telling God, our Father, that we need him.
Today's Entrance Antiphon at Mass: I am the salvation of the people, says the Lord. Should they cry to me in any distress, I will hear them, and I will be their Lord for ever. When God becomes our Lord, it does not mean that he is going to control or manipulate us and we don't have any say anymore. When he becomes our Lord, he becomes the one to watch over us, shield us from evil, guide our way, and help us in distress. And he even lets us, although this would hurt him greatly, leave him anytime we wish. This is our kind of Lord.
If we, as Christians, do not surrender to God, then we are not going all out, not getting the most out of our discipleship. Basically, we drag our feet in following God, making it impossible for us to love him with all our heart, all our mind, all our strength, and all our soul. And union with him becomes out of reach too. Know that every time you receive Holy Communion, it's the Lord inviting you to surrender to become one with him.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
In parts of Psalm 119 read at Mass this morning, the psalmist asks the Lord to remove from him the way of falsehood. It brought to my mind the importance of being truthful to ourselves, to others, and the Lord. Do we always mean what we say? Do we try to give others the wrong impression of us out of pride? Does our ego prompt us to put on false acts? Do we try not to face God? Do we look deep in our own heart to see if we are hypocritical in any way? Start out by being truthful to yourself, then you'll be truthful to God and others too.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
In 2 Corinthian 5, Paul writes: Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away.... In Galatians 2, Paul writes: I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.... This is the born-again state in which the old creation has completely died in Christ ~ it is union with God.
I am old enough to look back to see the many things, not all pleasant, that have happened in my life. If I had been shown them at the beginning before they happened, I am not sure that I would have wanted to live my life. Once I know God, the past does not matter anymore because all that has happened has lead me to the happiest time of my life. In the same way, joy in heaven would make us forget our life on earth. With God, it's getting better and better.
To summarize the central message of these last four years of blogging, I can say that we came into the world and were lost souls. Then there was Christ, the light of the world with his message of love and salvation. Those who have found him are no longer lost; their lives become meaningful and they know where they are going now. Jesus makes all the difference simply because he is God. You will also know this truth if you seek him. And the best path to knowing him is seeking union with him through receiving the Holy Eucharist in the Holy Catholic Church which he has built upon St. Peter and the other Apostles almost 2,000 years ago.
Monday, September 22, 2014
We must jealously guard our sanctity for love of God. It is even more important than guarding our life, for it affects God directly. In today's Gospel reading from Luke 8 at morning Mass, Jesus said, "No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light." Therefore, we must also be proud of our faith, be proud of having been chosen and called by the Lord. For anyone who's ashamed of Christ, it's better not to follow him.
A short prayer said from your own heart would mean so much more to God than reading perfunctorily some long, wordy prayer composed by someone else. Here are a number of examples that can be said at anytime when you are awake: "Lord, I trust in you"; "I love you, Jesus"; "I need you now"; "I am with you"; "I am all yours"; "Thy will be done"; "Have mercy on me."
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Getting into heaven or is not determined by whether your good deeds outbalance your bad ones. The wonderful thing about God's mercy is that no matter how sinful you are, a genuine repentance will get you back in God's grace. Otherwise, heaven would be quite empty of souls. When you end up in heaven or in hell, you may be surprised by the presence of souls you had not expected to see and the absence of souls you had expected to see there. As Jesus has said, the last will be first, and the first will be last. Regardless, we must pray hard for the salvation of all the souls, for nothing is impossible with God.
Friday, September 19, 2014
Studying the Bible, reading a lot of good books, listening to tapes, watching religious programs, attending church missions, going on retreats ~ all these aids can inspire you to holiness, but nothing can beat surrender to God, for in union God becomes your personal help, guide, and teacher.
Communion experience. Again, the Lord showed me that to enter him; I only needed to be passive, relaxed, and open ~ no struggle, no striving, no resolution to make. God makes it easy and simple. Right after receiving the Holy Eucharist, it's the perfect time to abandon ourselves to God, resting in heavenly peace.
I looked out the kitchen window in the early morning and saw the red sun rising in the east, appearing not much larger than the moon. The sun is so much larger than our earth that if the earth stayed a solid ball, you could fit about 960,000 earths into a ball the size of the sun. And of course, the sun is so hot (with temperature estimated to exceed 27 million degrees F at its core) that if it were any closer, we wouldn't be able to survive on earth. The sun reminded me of God because, in a similar way, we do not realize the immensity and infinite warmth of God when we are not close to him.
Burdens in life are real. An earthquake can destroy your house. A friend may turn against you. You want to a new car and worry about where the money is going to come from. In the last example, we clearly have a case of self-imposed burden. But once you know and trust in God, the loss of a house would no longer stress you out. If a friend turns against you, you would feel sorry and pray for him, still remaining peaceful. We now see that all burdens are really self-imposed and God can lighten them or lift them from you completely.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
It seems that many Christians are not looking at God squarely to figure out how they should deal with him. In the back of their mind they know that they should love him with all their heart, all their soul, all their mind, and all their strength, but their heart hasn't learned that yet. So they put off coming to any resolution. This is hiding from God. On the other hand, seeking union with God is going straight to the Lord to ask him to let us live in him.
The Lord challenges us to become holy and perfect. If you accept the challenge, be prepared for this reality: you will face the disconnect between you and the world which in general does not know Christ. Even those who know him but not well may distance themselves from you. Nevertheless, the gain of intimacy with the Lord far offsets all losses.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Communion time realization. Receiving the Holy Eucharist is accepting God's invitation to let him love me, invitation for me to love him and to be united with him, and invitation to receive the gift of eternal life from him. A heavenly banquet only God can give!
God is an infinite space which you can enter when you wish and are ready. This space is absolutely beautiful because God is holy and perfect. It is also most sweet because he is love. How do you get ready to enter? Believe that Christ has died for you sins, be sorry for your sins, desire to be holy for God's sake, and you are ready. A total surrender at this point would earn you an instant entry pass. Otherwise, the Father will guide your every step of the way. Once you are inside the space, you'll feel like being a fish that has been released back into the water, enjoying total freedom. (I now realize I am describing the state of union with God again.)
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 7 at morning Mass, Jesus raised a widow's son who had died. Life and death are really connected together ~ God can make us slip from one state into the other. The biggest disconnect has to be between heaven and hell. The separation is not only unbridgeable, but also eternal. All the more we need to connect ourselves to Jesus, the only one who can save us!
When God looks at us, he looks at our heart. When he speaks to us, he places the message in our heart. What comes out of our mind comes from us. What comes out of the heart comes from the Lord. As we chat away at a social gathering, the heart may not be involved at all. But in a prayer group, it's best that we say everything from the heart. The heart cannot lie; it can only be defiled by sinful thoughts and intentions, preventing us from hearing messages from God. Therefore, keeping the heart pure should be our top priority.
With a muddy conscience, we sin and look away to ease any discomfort we feel. But know that if you were to see yourself through the eyes of the holy God, you would be shocked at seeing what you have done! There are just two choices: (1) Keep looking away from your sins, fooling yourself to believe that you are OK, and get the big shock later. (2) Lick the problem of sin now to clear up you conscience once and for all so that you may live in peace from now on. What is your choice?
Monday, September 15, 2014
I saw someone with a Maserati parked outside his office ~ a car rather rare around here. I imagine how proud the owner must feel. What if no one gives a hoot about it? Would the owner be disappointed? I think so if he has a big ego. Ego is our attachment to the self. A big ego always demands to be fed to grow even bigger, then it becomes a prime target of Satan. If you want God to notice you, then starve your ego to death (pun intended), thus removing the biggest obstacle in your path to God.
Today is the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. At morning Mass, the eternity of God entered my mind. Of course, God must have always existed. In Exodus 3, he told Moses that his name is I AM ~ wow! For God, there is neither beginning nor end. which explains all the mysteries around us. Who are we to argue with or even question him? How much do we really know? We have no choice but to worship him. The big bonus we get is that he happens to love us and wishes us to live for all eternity too, with him ~ imagine. I can't help wanting to leap for joy!
Sunday, September 14, 2014
Looking back on my past, there were many times when I wasn't sure what God wanted me to do. That was because I had not completely surrendered to him yet. As a result, my own will was always in the way, conflicting with or obscuring his will for me. After I got to know the Lord well, my will and his became the same, and discerning was rarely necessary. Now, I just wait for him to reveal to me what he wants me to do according to his time table. As a result, I experience much peace.
We pray often on God's behalf. For example, I pray that the whole world will come to know Christ. We pray for the Lord's will to be done. Does he really need our help? I see now that he wants us to pray thus to deepen our union with him. When our will becomes all his, all our prayers will be all his too. Then we'll be like Jesus praying to the Father.
Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The Gospel reading contains John 3.16: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. God has created us, has come to save us, has called us, makes our journey home easy (see my last post), has loved us first and will love us forever. We only need to let him do what he wants with us and remain grateful.
In Matthew 7, Jesus said, "How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." The thing to do first is to enter that gate and get on that road. This is accomplished by finding Jesus and being willing to follow him. How constricted the road is will depend upon how well you "follow the directions" and "obey the signs" along the way. Again, seeking union with God will put you on the fast track with the road straightened and flattened out by the Lord!
Saturday, September 13, 2014
When you do something well, you feel good. For example, if you can play a piece of music on the piano beautifully, you feel good. This is normal human reaction, not pride. In the same way, when you are holy with a clear conscience, you feel peace in your heart ~ in this case, the thing you do well happens to be you. So we can say that God has so made us that we do not have peace until we are holy.
Friday, September 12, 2014
In today's Gospel reading at Mass from Luke 6, Jesus asked his disciples, "Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?" Our business before God is to perfect ourselves first before trying to perfect others. In fact, I should have said to perfect ourselves only, because even after we become perfect, we're not supposed to judge others. Therefore, center upon ourselves before the Lord and seek union with him ~ our only duty and business, and let our examples inspire others to perfect themselves.
I was watching online part of the replay of Pope Francis' visit last month to Korea. He was meeting the youths that came from all over Asia in Daejean. The tremendous enthusiasm shown by the young people and the joy of the Holy Father in greeting them moved me to tears. I realized that one of the great joys of being a faithful Catholic is the sense of belonging, knowing that you are in communion with the Lord God and all other Catholics, in heaven or on earth. Belonging to the Church is belonging to the body of Christ, with all the faithful sharing the body and blood of the Lord.
While praying the last decade of the sorrowful mysteries of the Holy Rosary on the Crucifixion of the Lord, I could hear the pounding of the nails into his hands. I heard the Lord say: To love someone, you must be willing to suffer for that person.
When I was a little kid, I was often asked by adults, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I didn't really know, but my various answers revealed my ambitions and dreams. Now that I have grown up, I just want to be what God wants me to be. I may sound resigned or submissive; but in a way, more ambitious than ever. And this is one "dream" that will become reality too.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Being attached to someone is not loving that someone. On the other hand, being detached to someone is not unloving that person. In other words, attachment and love are not the same thing. Detachment may seem cold, but it's so much more beautiful than attachment because it's letting go in God. I'll always remember the time my wife and I took her mother to a company celebration ~ that was the company where my wife worked many years ago. Helium-filled balloons were passed out to everyone. And everyone held onto their balloon, intending to take it home afterwards (and watch it shrink under the bedroom ceiling daily). Then my mother-in-law decided to let hers go. My wife and I watched her balloon soaring quickly into the blue sky and finally disappearing ~ a beautiful sight, but we also marveled at mother's equally beautiful detachment.
Today's Gospel reading at Mass continued from Luke 6. Verses 27-38 are all about "love your enemies," "turn the other cheek," "stop judging," and "forgive." According to Jesus, this is showing your love. From the practical point of view, it makes sense too because if you are not bothered by others in any way, you have inner peace. Furthermore, if everyone followed Jesus' advice, the world would definitely be peaceful ~ proof that he was right. Then what if you are now in Iraq or Syria where Christians are getting slaughtered? All I can say is that if you believe and love the Lord, he will never put you in a situation where you will not pass the test.
In the 1st reading from 1 Corinthians 8 at morning Mass, Paul wrote: "If food causes my brother to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause my brother to sin." Paul is saying that even what you do is not a sin per se, it becomes sinful if it wounds others' consciences when they copy you. In most cases, what we do is sinful, and if that causes others to sin also, we have committed a much more serious sin. A common example would be parents who behave badly causing their children to behave in a similar way. It is basically keeping others away from God!
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
We can be attached to the world so much that it becomes like a piece of chewed gum stuck in our hair. The most effective way to shake the world off you is to be in union with God because only his holiness can overcome the world that has succumbed to a great extent to the evil one. Yes, be a saint to become detached from the world.
Today the Gospel read at Mass was the Sermon on the Mount from Luke 6. Jesus gave us the Beatitudes in which he (1) blessed those who are poor, hungry, weeping, and hated, excluded, insulted, and denounced as evil on account of him, and (2) grieved for those who are rich, filled, laughing, and spoken well of by all. In sum, the Lord wants us to live for him and not for the world, and our reward, as he promised those he blessed, will be great in heaven.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Monday, September 8, 2014
Today is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Through her, God came into the world. What better position could we possibly be in? We were sick and God came to us in person to heal us. Now, daily he comes to me again in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. When I was ill in a hospital, meals and medication were all given to me to make me well. We should realize and appreciate that God is serving us what we need in exactly the same way.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Saturday, September 6, 2014
I have a number of Catholic friends whose spouses are strongly anti-Catholic. One would not even allow the wife to attend Mass. For each believing spouse, this is a heavy cross to carry. Why does such hostility or even hatred exist toward the Church Christ has established? It has to do with misunderstanding, for Satan is a master liar. Whoever spreads false information about the Church must bear the greater responsibility for causing such suffering.
When we do God's will, the Blessed Mother is our best partner. She guides us every step of the way and protects us under her care. She is Mom most kind and most helpful. If you ever feel the need for a mother, go to her. If you are not ready to approach the Lord God yet, go to her first and she will go with you to present you to him.
Let nothing take your eyes off Jesus. Pay no attention to what religious order you belong to, what miracles you've witnessed, what mystical experiences you've had, what great gifts God has given you, or what great works you are doing for him. Be single-minded and your union with him will be secure.
On an NBC TV show this morning, I caught a glimpse of the regular reporters on the street of New York (Time Square? ~ I guess since I don't follow NBC at all) with a group of attractively clad dancers dancing in the background. Later, the reporters joined in; all seemed to have a good time. I realized that many people, especially public figures, are used to hiding behind a false facade, since presenting a good, happy image is so important. TV shows, the commercials, all present a world clad in false joy. If we cannot live to be truthful to ourselves, how can we live to be truthful to God?
Friday, September 5, 2014
If you are a perfectionist, do you ever consider your own imperfections?
If you are the decisive type, do you ever decide how much you should love God?
If you think you are tough, are you tough on yourself own shortcomings?
If you consider yourself a doer, do you do unselfish things?
If you are an inquisitive person, do you look into the meaning of life?
If you believe you have vision, do you ever look beyond this life?
If you are a good speaker, is your heart in the right place when you speak?
If you want to find God, do you let God in first to find you?
If you are rich and wealthy, why do you still worry so much?
If you think about living a long life, shouldn't you think about death too?
If you want to find God, do you let God in first to find you?
If you are rich and wealthy, why do you still worry so much?
If you think about living a long life, shouldn't you think about death too?
We have our body and our soul. The body deteriorates every moment and will be completely worn-out one day ~ nothing we can do about that. Since the soul lives on forever, we should take the greatest care of it when we can by nourishing it and safeguarding it to keep it pure. Any imbalance should favor the soul and not the body.
After morning Mass I stayed for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at church, as today is the first Friday of the month. What I saw was that although the road to heaven is narrow and steep, the gate of heaven at the top is wide open, since Christ has redeemed us. The question is how best to reach the top. Making the arduous climb on your own is the obvious way, but seeking union with God to let him take over is much superior. Once you are in union, you are outside the gate. A tram will beat two legs anytime.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
In today's Gospel reading from Luke 5 at morning Mass, Jesus got into one of the two boats, the one belonging to Simon (Peter), alongside the lake. He asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Later, he asked Simon to put out into deep water and lower his nets for a catch. Simon and his fellow fishermen had worked hard all night and caught nothing, but lowered the nets anyway. They caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing so that their partners in the other boat had to come to help them. Simon Peter fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man." That was one life-changing moment for Peter. How beautiful such a moment is when a soul receives the light of Christ in his heart and realizes what he truly is before the Lord!
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
I have greater affection for certain saints over others. Then I realize that when it comes to glorifying God, pleasing him should completely override my personal preferences. I should willingly and gladly do whatever is necessary, enjoyable or not, to glorify God.
In Matthew 17.20, Jesus said to his disciples, "Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Again, in Luke 17.6, he said to the apostles, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you." I've always been intrigued by what the Lord had said here ~ how can I get this faith the size of a mustard seed?
Once I actually challenged someone who had lost all his hair to believe in Jesus and assured him that his hair would come back after I prayed for him. Of course, nothing miraculous happened. Then there's the time I prayed for my son when he was near death, and he miraculously recovered. This time the petition just came forth spontaneously without any hesitation. Recall how Peter in his boat saw Jesus walking on the sea and wanted to do the same. Jesus said "come" and Peter got out of the boat and started walking toward Jesus. But he became frightened and began to sink. Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
My new understanding of faith: (1) I cannot "force" myself to have faith. For example, it'll be utter foolishness to believe that I can go out and heal any sick person I run into. (2) Faith can work miracles only if you are doing God's will. If I get out of a boat on my own, believing that I can walk on water, it won't happen. But if Jesus had actually commanded me to do it, then I would do fine if I believed in him. (3) Conclusion: Do God's will always and trust in him completely while doing it. (4) Last, since faith is a gift from God, seeking union with him will definitely enrich this gift.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Communion experience. After I received the Holy Eucharist, I knew it was the Lord who had entered me, the one who spoke with authority, healed the sick miraculously, died on the cross in our place, was raised from the dead on the third day . . . enough.
Through the horrible news we read and hear daily, revealing the ungodliness of our world, God is urgently calling us to greater holiness and to pray harder for all souls, those who sin, those who suffer, and those who seem to have no hope. After the last days, it'll be too late.
The first request made by Our Lady of Fatima is to sanctify our daily duties. Here is the official My Morning Offering prayer:
O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world, joining with it the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day.
O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can, and I offer them together with myself to Mary Immaculate ~ that she may best apply them to the interests of Thy most Sacred Heart. Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
If we are prepared to offer God our every thought, word, and action of the day, we'd better make sure that every thought, word, and action of ours is good and pure. I see making this morning offering an excellent way to keep us holy.
Jesus' saying "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it" from my last post is in fact the formula for saving ourselves. It simply points out that living selfcenteredly is bad for you and living for God is the way to go. To live a fulfilled life, live for God ~ that's all there is to it.
Monday, September 1, 2014
Jesus said, "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it." This commanding saying of the Lord, recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, popped into my mind today. It is so striking that we must take it seriously! Again, it challenges us. Who else but God can say something like that? We must respect the Lord for telling it like it is and believe in him.
Today is Labor Day in the US, a national holiday. Doing God's will is never labor, even if it involves hard physical or mental work. That's because you no longer do it to please yourself ~ whether you succeed or not is now in God's hands. By the way, this is the way to live a stress-free life, the way God has always intended for you.